Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adopting Children With Special Needs: Amber's Story

I'll admit, medical needs terrify me as an adoptive parent. As a person who already has plenty of medical needs, the idea of compounding medical needs is scary.

That's why I think I try to surround myself with people who are willing to step out on faith and adopt the child God has for them. I need to learn from these individuals and couples.

I first met Amber on an online adoption forum several years ago. A few years into our online friendship, I got to meet her and several other adoptive mamas in person while my family was on vacation. Amber is down-to-earth, beautiful, and dedicated to God. She has one biological daughter and twins, one boy and one girl, whom she and her husband adopted. I'm honored to share her story with you.

Me: Tell me about your family.

Amber: We are a military family with three children at home. Layla (7), Brynn (4), and Cale (4); and one more waiting for us in Eastern Europe- Anna Gray (4 months). My husband and I have been married for just over 8 years. Our days are filled with dance parties, truck races, baking cupcakes, and lots of giggles!

Me: How has adoption touched your life?

Amber: I knew I wanted to adopt at 4-years-old, I just didn't know WHY until I actually did it. Our oldest daughter is biological, but our twins were adopted domestically as infants and of course, we are doing an international adoption to bring Anna Gray home. Hearing God's voice, believing Him when He spoke, and watching him follow through with His Word has strengthened our faith in ways we could have never imagined. That's our purpose- to Glorify God- He's just using adoption to teach us.

Me: Tell me how you connected to your future daughter, Anna.

Amber: We were in the beginning stages of preparing another domestic infant adoption when we were introduced to Reece's Rainbow. Reece's Rainbow is an orphan ministry specifically for children with Down Syndrome. I curiously looked through the pages of waiting children online when I saw Anna Gray, and my heart leaped. Even our children immediately said, "When is she coming home?" the second they saw her. We took some time to pray about it and repeatedly got the same answer- go get her. Our son said he asked God to bring him a baby with a mohawk... and He did! We are knee-deep in paperwork right now, having just started our dossier. We will spend the next few months trying to cross our T's and dot our I's, learning about a life with Down Syndrome, and raising the necessary funds to bring her home. Since this wasn't OUR plan, we have a lot of work to do! If all goes well, she should be home just after Christmas!

Me: What does your family need right now?

Amber: We will always welcome any prayer support! Prayers that Annie's needs are being cared for while she waits for us, prayers that we get through the process without too many bumps in the road, prayers that we are financially prepared for this unexpected gift. For those that feel led to give financially, we are so, so grateful.

Me: What do you want to share with my readers about adoption?

Amber: When we first found out about the twins, the connection we felt to them terrified us. WE hadn't planned on adopting TWO babies at once. We hadn't saved enough money, we were overwhelmed by the unknown. After praying for guidance, our preacher stopped in the middle of his sermon to speak to "the one God is trying to reach". He used adoption as an example and said, "Sometimes God wants to take you in a direction you didn't plan for. Yes, it's scary and I know you don't think you can do it, but He's telling you that you CAN. It may not look exactly like what you thought it would, but listen when He tells you this is what He wants you to do."

I cannot even imagine my life if we hadn't listened. Dating as teenagers, my husband and I didn't daydream about our transracial, multicultural family and a life with Autism, ADHD, and Down Syndrome. The life He has given us is so much greater than anything we could have imagined for ourselves! It isn't easy, and it won't get easier with Anna Gray's arrival- but that doesn't mean it won't get better either! We are so grateful for ALL of our blessings, no matter how they found us.

It's easy to get intimidated by the work, by the money, by the future. But for us, it's short-term compared to a lifetime of reward with our children!

To connect with Amber, please click on the "Bring Anna Home" button located at the bottom right-side of my blog.

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